April 7, 2011
Game Notes | Game Day Central (featuring live coverage links)
Probable Pitching Matchups
Game One: Matt Morgan (Sr, RHP) vs. Kyle Clark (So, RHP)
Game Two: Brad Schreiber (So, RHP) vs. Bobby Brosnahan (So, LHP)
Game Three: Joe Haase (Jr, RHP) vs. Tyler Mills (So, RHP)
Weekend Weather Forecast for West Lafayette
Friday: 58 degrees, 10 percent chance of rain
Saturday: 78 degrees, 20 percent chance of rain
Sunday: 84 degrees, 20 percent chance of rain
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Having played nearly 40 games since last hosting a Big Ten series, Purdue baseball finally gets a chance to stay at home, opening the home portion of its conference schedule this weekend when Michigan visits Lambert Field for a final time.
Friday’s series opener is slated for a 4 p.m. first pitch. Saturday’s middle game is scheduled to be the first of Purdue’s four Big Ten Network games this year and get underway at noon. The series finale Sunday is set for 1 p.m.
The Boilermakers (18-10, 1-2 Big Ten) were on the road for the final two weekends of conference play of 2010 as well as the Big Ten Tournament. Purdue has not hosted a three-game weekend series since taking two-of-three from Michigan State, May 8-10 of last season. The Boilermakers have played 39 games since that Michigan State weekend, 34 of those contests being played away from West Lafayette.
Meanwhile, Michigan (7-19, 1-2 Big Ten) will be making its first appearance at Lambert Field since 2006. The two teams did not play regular-season conference series against each other in both 2008 and 2009. Purdue’s last series victory against the Wolverines came in 2004 at Lambert Field. And since 2006, Michigan has 11 won of the 14 meetings
Picked second in the Big Ten preseason poll after finishing second a year ago, the Wolverines have scuffled over the first seven weeks of the season and enter the weekend with a conference-low seven overall wins. Michigan is ranked last in the league in team batting average (.247) and slugging percentage (.311). A 3-0 showing at a tournament hosted by Eastern Michigan the weekend of March 18-20 marked the only time this year the Wolverines have posted consecutive wins.
Purdue enters the series this season with the Big Ten's top-ranked offense, leading the league in 12 notable categories, highlighted by batting average, slugging percentage and runs scored. The Boilermakers are also expected to have their preferred weekend rotation in tact for the first time since the opening weekend of the spring break trip. Matt Morgan is expected to make his season debut at Lambert Field Friday. Brad Schreiber and Joe Haase have won Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors each of the last two weeks.
Purdue and Michigan both lost two-of-three during the opening weekend of Big Ten play. The Boilermakers lost their series at preseason favorite against Minnesota at Target Field, a stadium they had only seen on television prior to April 1. The Wolverines also lost a Saturday rubber game to drop their series with Indiana at home. A quality start from lefty starter Bobby Brosnahan (6 1/3 innings of two-run ball) and a big two-run homer from shortstop Kevin Krantz in the seventh inning lifted Michigan to its game two win against Indiana. Brosnahan also beat Purdue in game two of last year’s series in Ann Arbor.
Both teams are led by a cleanup-hitting catcher. The Wolverines’ Coley Crank finished the Indiana series 6-for-9 while reaching base safely in nine of his 12 plate appearances. He has recorded a team-best 10 doubles this season. Patrick Biondi (11-of-13 stealing bases) and Michael O’Neill (13-of-17) could test Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki this weekend. The Boilermakers’ backstop has thrown out nine of 19 would-best base stealers this year.
Michigan’s projected game one starter, Kyle Clark, has given up more unearned (13) than earned runs (11). With 17 strikeouts and seven walks in 28 1/3 innings, opposing batters put the ball in play often but have only recorded six extra-base hits against the right-hander. Game three starter Tyler Mills leads the team with 29 strikeouts and has not given up a home run either.
Following the weekend series at Lambert Field, Purdue begins a 10-game road stretch Tuesday that includes Big Ten series at Penn State (April 15-17) and Northwestern (April 22-24). The Boilermakers' Saturday afternoon games each of the next three weekends are scheduled to be televised live by the Big Ten Network.